hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
139,058 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2002 Kia Optima suspension problems

suspension problem

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2002 Kia Optima Owner Comments

problem #16

Aug 192016


  • 133,313 miles


The contact owns a 2002 Kia Optima. While driving approximately 10 mph and making a left turn, the front driver side control arm, tie rod, and cv axle fractured. The vehicle was diagnosed by an independent mechanic and the contact was informed that the subframe needed to be replaced along with the driver side control arm, tie rod, and cv axle. The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 09V183000 (suspension). The manufacturer was notified of the failures. The failure mileage was approximately 133,313.

- Jeffersonville, IN, USA

problem #15

Jul 152015


  • 167,000 miles
We own a 2002 Kia Optima- found out there was a recall- the recall was corrision to the subframe that could lead to problems with the control arm. I was told that the car was inspected in 2010 and the recall was taken care of at that time. We bought the car from a private owner in 2014. 2015 went to get new tires on the car and discount tire told us that they couldn't do an alignment because there is an issue with the control arm. We found out to repair the control are it would be over $500. When I called the Kia hotline to inquire about the recall, I was told that we would need to take the car to a Kia dealership to have the car reviewed by their service men to see if there is any issues with the subframe and control arm. I'm concerned my concern is not going to get adressed. 7/11/2016

- Muskegon, MI, USA

problem #14

Apr 062016


  • 180,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Kia Optima. While driving 50 mph, the front driver side lower subframe detached due to corrosion inside the subframe. The vehicle was towed to the contact's residence. The vehicle was not diagnosed nor repaired. The VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 09V183000 (suspension). The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 180,000.

- Mount Union, PA, USA

problem #13

Mar 042016


  • 132,000 miles


I just got my 2002 Kia Optima and it just recently started having issues. I was driving down the road and my car started to slightly wander to the left, I thought ok.. it needs an alignment. So then it started jerking to the right, so bad I got pulled off to the side of the road and couldn't control it. I parked my car in a parking lot til my bf could come look at it, and I had him drive it home and the same thing happened to him. He looked at every possibility at what it could be as he is a mechanic and said lower control arm. It has been sitting in my yard for a week. It is not safe to drive. I found out it had a recall back in 2009, so I called my local Kia dealer and they said it was part of the recall but it has been fixed- I'm wondering how it was fixed if it is doing the same exact thing everyone's complaints I have seen is doing/ I am at a halt not knowing what to do with my car, I have small children and refuse to drive this car. Please help

- Rochester, NH, USA

problem #12

Jun 242015


  • 116,869 miles
Driving up the road, put on brakes, axle and subframe broke causing my car to slide and stop in middle of road.thank god no one hit us.

- Martinsburg, WV, USA

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problem #11

Feb 052015

Optima 6-cyl

  • 217,000 miles
Driving down the road, stepped on brakes and front frame broke into two pieces, in the middle of the road, nearly caused a pile up on the road.

- Jenison, MI, USA

problem #10

May 012014

Optima 4-cyl

  • 130,000 miles


Subframe is rusting out and my tires are getting abnormal wear and my front tires are angled in.

- Winona, MN, USA

problem #9

May 052014

Optima 4-cyl

  • 278,000 miles
My tire had started bending inward at the top, and outward at the bottom. My car started going out of alignment. I took it to a shop, and they found out my sub frame was rusted and worn out. They also found out that the sub frame had been recalled in 2009, but apparently not on my exact vehicle.

- Council Bluffs, IA, USA

problem #8

Mar 152014


  • 95,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Kia Optima. The contact stated that the vehicle failed to drive in a straight line. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure but refused to provide any assistance since the vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 09V183000 (suspension). The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 95,000.

- Ada , MN, USA

problem #7

Nov 252013


  • 137,858 miles
We have had ongoing problems with a 2002 Kia Optima, including tire wear, brake problems, electrical issues, excessive battery wear. This week we were notified by our auto shop that there is excessive rust on the subframe and that a recall exists for this condition. When I contacted both our local dealer and Kia corporate, I was told that this particular VIN is not included in the recall, although the recall clearly states that it does meet the parameters. Upon further research, it appears that many others have experienced the same problems and been given the same information. Currently, we are left with a car that is a danger to drive and enormous personal expense to resolve.

- Columbia, MO, USA

problem #6

Sep 142013

Optima 4-cyl

  • 138,227 miles


While I was driving I had noticed that the car was pulling to the right. I had new tires and an alignment done 5-6 weeks prior, so I returned to the shop and they looked at everything and the front end was out of alignment. The shop looked further to see what caused this and found that the right front frame area was rusted and cracked. They advised me that the car was not save and that I should contact Kia. I was driving the car home and the car pulled drastically to right and I heard a crushing noise from the right tire area. I pulled off the road and saw that the tire was not positioned properly. I had the car towed to my residence and am in the process of contacting Kia. I was lucking to not have caused an accident, after reading some of the other similar complaints it should have been a national recall on this situation. According the records that I had checked I am only the 2nd owner of this vehicle. I hope that Kia makes good on this situation.

- Bayville, NJ, USA

problem #5

Oct 042012

Optima 6-cyl

  • 126,513 miles
Car was making strange noise. Took to mechanic to have check. It was discovered that the subframe is completely rusted through on passenger side at frame mounts and almost rusted through on drivers side. Mechanic determined that due to the severity of problem vehicle is unsafe to drive and will not allow back on road until necessary repairs are made. I contacted Kia and was told that this particular year vehicle was in a recall due to this problem. However, this particular VIN was not included in the recall. The vehicle was originally purchased in the state of West va, as stated in the recall. Vehicle is still parked at mechanics garage and I would greatly appreciate communication regarding this matter. I was told by Kia representative that I would need to contact your organization.

- Wittensville, KY, USA

problem #4

Oct 312011


  • 120,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Kia Optima. The contact stated that while driving approximately 60 mph, the vehicle veered to the right in a jerking motion. The failure occurred whenever the brakes were depressed. The contact stated that the failure recurred several times. The vehicle was maneuvered to the side of the road. The contact noticed that the passenger's side tire was positioned outwardly. Also, both front tires had prematurely worn due to the defect. The vehicle was towed to an authorized dealer and repaired under NHTSA campaign id number 09V183000 (suspension). The manufacturer was not notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 120,000.

- Waterlo , IL, USA

problem #3

Oct 312012

Optima 6-cyl

  • 104,000 miles
The vehicle was driven and at one point there was a noticeable difference in steering and the car pulled to the right. Within a few days of this event, the brand new tires that were purchased just a few months earlier, wore from the inner edge to about 1/3 of the width of the tire, exposing the belts. This caused one tire to pop, while the car was being driven. A spare was placed on the vehicle to get it to a tire repair location and after approximately 30 miles of driving, the spare lost all tread and also popped. The vehicle was then towed to the tire repair shop and the rusted and broken subframe was detected. The area was so rusted that portions of the frame broke and the tires were no longer running straight. I called Kia and they told me although there are recalls for this very problem on Kia Optimas from 2001 to 2004, my car was not in the recall because I live in Kansas. The recall does apply to Kia in Missouri, which is 15 minutes from where I live. The Kansas City area is both Missouri and Kansas and the area where I live. The rusting is attributed to salt used during inclement weather in Missouri and not only is the same salt used in Kansas, but I also drive in Missouri. The Kia representative still refused to recognize that my vehicle should be part of the recall even though the exact same issue that caused other Kia Optimas to be recalled has happened to my vehicle. The recall needs to be extended to Kansas because we deal with the same elements as Missouri and Iowa which are included in the recall. My son was driving this vehicle when the damage occurred and he could have suffered serious injury if he had been on the highway instead of a side street.

- Merriam, KS, USA

problem #2

Mar 062012

Optima 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Kia Optima. The contact stated that while driving 5 mph, the contact heard a loud noise near the front driver side tire as the vehicle dropped to the ground. The vehicle was towed to a mechanic for inspection where they advised that that the ball joints needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The contact stated that he still heard a noise after the vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was notified and they stated that there was nothing that could be done. The failure mileage was 85,000. Updated 08-03-12 updated 09/07/2012

- Peoria, IL, USA

problem #1

Apr 132012


  • 64,148 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Kia Optima. The contact stated that the vehicle was taken to a local mechanic for routine service when he was advised that the sub frame was corroded. The manufacturer was contacted but denied any assistance with the repairs because the vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign id number: 09V183000 (suspension: Front). The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 64,148.

- Blair, NE, USA

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